Pan For Punks. A Steel Drum Tribute to the Ramones


Tracy Thornton/Pan For Punks :
Pan For Punks. A Steel Drum Tribute to the Ramones
Release Date: 11/5/05
Review Date: 4/4/06

Tribute albums blow, for the most part. The better the band, the worse the tribute… usually. The Ramones have no less than three tribute albums so far, maybe even more. There’s the very excellent Nutley Brass plays the Ramones Songboook, and the equally mediocre mainstream Romies tribute album that is so boring I can’t even remember the name of it. Cheers to Marilyn Manson for contributing at least one interesting song. The Ramones are legendary, and they inspired more than a couple great bands. A tribute album is a tall order to fill. The Nutley Brass pulls it off with flying colors due to the unbridled enthusiasm and joy expressed for the originals. Ok, there’s that and the truly unique approach. That and the sheer nerve of recording a full album ‘s worth of Ramones songs in artfully arranged versions by a brass orchestra. By now the publicist of Pan for Punks is probably thoroughly annoyed by me, so I’ll get to the point. Pan for Punks follows in the footsteps of the Nutley Brass by delivering a unique and enthusiastic performance. Steel drums may conjure up images of Caribbean cruises or lame TV commercials. It’s a cool instrument, but let’s face it, most punk fans aren’t exposed to it in way that can hold their interest longer than it takes to walk by the guys in busking in the park. A steel drum tribute could have easily turned into a dull mid tempo affair not worth revisiting, but Pan for Punks is a blistering performance with solid arrangements. Tracy Thornton played and produced the whole thing with an energy worthy of the Ramones. Everything. Steel drums, bass drums, and bass guitar. This guy comes from a metal background and it shows in the rapid fire precision. I don’t know poop about steel drums, but I was amazed by the speed and intensity. It’s great to hear Ramones songs in a new and exciting way. It’s almost like discovering them again for the first time. Another good thing about Pan for Punks is the relative variety in songs covered, Yeah sure, there’s Blitzkrieg Bop and Sheena is a Punk Rocker, but there is also “Outsider” and “We’re a Happy Family”. There’s even of cover of a cover in “Do You Wanna Dance?” Pan for Punks is an indy release and the cover and artwork are kind of a budget affair, but in this case it’s not really an issue. Sure, steel drum music has a limited appeal, and after an initial flurry it won’t be in heavy rotation, but it will always be good when you go to it. At this point in the review it’s just me blathering on about how cool this record is and you should spend a little of your hard earned cash on this independent release that helps carry on the spirit of the Ramones. Do you like the Ramones? Do you want to have fun? Do you want to impress chicks and/or your parents with the breadth of your tastes in musical styles? Buy Pan for Punks for the love of Joey, Dee Dee, and Johnny! Pan for Punks includes a DVD video of Blitzkrieg Bop. It’s kind of pseudo live performance footage and Tracy really gets into it. Pan For Punks is 14 songs long. All good fun. I think I found out about this through a blurb in Entertainment Weekly of all places. Don’t tell anyone.

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